Yup, Valentines Day is around the corner! Flowers. Chocolates. Stuffed animals. Diamonds. Poetry. Love is in the air… or is it?

Is that love? It doesn’t feel like love. It feels… Cheap. Shallow. Cheesy. Degrading. Misplaced. Crazy. What happened to love? Not even romantic love, but just plain ol’ regular love? 

Original Photo by Public Domain Photos (cc)

Original Photo by Public Domain Photos (cc)

Somehow society, including me and you, have made a profound trade. Love has been traded in for lust. Lust for sex. Lust for image. Lust for satisfaction. Lust for stuff. Lust for shallow companionship. Lust for quick, cheap, and self-serving.

Because of this exchange, everything has been damaged, warped, twisted, and reduced from its initial state.

Lust impacts every aspect of life.

Lust damages our soul.

Lust disfigures how we see the world. 

Here are four specific ways that lust damages and disfigures:

#1 Romance is disfigured into Performance

Why do we feel the need to evaluate, rate, and compare something as intangible as love and romance? All over the front pages of magazines are “How to be the Best…” “Are you the Best…” “Increase…” “Turn it up…” God created romance to be enjoyed between two people for a lifetime. It’s awesome… even if we are NOT the “best”.

#2 Intimacy is disfigured into Immediacy

Love waits. Love takes time to develop. Love at first sight is a myth. Lust can’t wait. Lust is now. Lust is not for the long-haul. Somehow our need to satisfy our cravings has impacted our intimacy. Instead of commitment first, then intimacy next. We have disfigured it into immediate satisfaction first, then perhaps commitment later. This damages us.

#3 Relational is disfigured into Sensational

Love is not about you. It’s not about your feelings. Your needs. Love is about the other person. When love focuses in on self, it disfigures. Love is about knowing people on a deeper level… not just feeling good. Our experience should be “whatever it takes” to love one another. Instead our experience has become “whatever I can take”. Something is wrong when we focus on ourselves.

#4 People are disfigured into Products

The way we talk about one another is crazy. We use words or phrase like, “Yeah, I’d take that home…” “Wow, that’s Perfect…” “Dang, that’s Hot!!” “Deeee-liscious” “Mmmm”… wait, are we talking about a person or lunch? I forgot. People are supposed to be known, loved, and cared for. But we demean and reduce one another to products. Things that make us happy. Sadly, things get abused. Things get misplaced. Things are thrown away. People are not things. Something is wrong with us!

Photo Courtesy of whatmegsaid (cc)

Photo Courtesy of whatmegsaid (cc)

How Do We Get Out of This Cycle?

There are two ways to overcome lust. Generosity. Gratitude.

Be Generous

Give away love, instead of keeping it to yourself. Lust can’t wait to get. Love can’t wait to give! Give away stuff. Give away resources. Make room for people. Invest in genuine relationships.

Love the broken, stubborn, and messy people around you… Because, let’s face it, you and I are broken, stubborn, and messy. Love your family. Love your coworkers. Do this generously. Don’t let lust rob you of generosity!

Be Grateful

Thank people, instead of evaluating them. Get into the zone of appreciating the humanity of others. People are more than what they produce! People are amazing. Everyone is a son, daughter, sister, brother, father, mother… a person.

Be thankful for people. Your friends have interesting stories to share. Listen to their stories. Be a part of their stories! Thank them for being present and available. Set a goal to thank specific people at work, in your family, or on campus. Cultivate thankfulness. Gratitude is vital in dispelling lust. 

“One of the first pictures that I took with my wife” Photo Courtesy of Niji Stanley Photography (c)

We Can Overcome Lust!

Overtime, this 1-2 punch (generosity and gratitude) will bring reality into focus.

All of the ways that lust has disfigured our view of the world will start to twist back into Kingdom reality. I know, generosity and gratitude are not the easiest things to do. Yes, this is going to be difficult! Jesus can help us. He can fix us. We must fight back against lust.

Make this Valentine’s Day about bringing LOVE back! You may not have that special someone, but there are many people that can feel special because of you today. Be generous. Show gratitude. Let’s love, for real. You are an everyday world changer! Start today!

Do you have any advice on how to overcome lust? Please comment below or send me an email!